Archive for the “U.S. Politics” Category

Politics in the United States

Help! Help! I'm being repressed! (Dennis the constitutional peasant, Monty Python & the Holy Grail)Militant Christianists have fallen all over each other rushing to praise Rowan county KY clerk Kim Davis for what they think is her “brave” resistance to gay marriage. They’ve called her a modern-day Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr, and even Abraham Lincoln. During last night’s GOP presidential primary debate, Rick Santorum did that one better … he compared Ms Davis to a presumed Christian martyr. Raw Story reports on what this raging Christofascist said (WebCite cached article):

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum argued on Wednesday that Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis’ persecution for being a Christian was similar to shooting victims of the 1999 Columbine High School massacre.

“Sixteen years ago this country was tremendously inspired by a young woman who faced a gunman in Columbine and was challenged about her faith and she refused to deny God,” Santorum explained during the CNN presidential debate. “We saw her as a hero.”

Rickie-boy was referring to the story of Cassie Bernall. Christians have often repeated the story that, during the massacre, one of the Columbine slaughterers asked her if she was a Christian, she proudly said “Yes,” then she was shot and killed. This story fits neatly in with Christians’ age-old tendency to view themselves as “persecuted” and it makes them feel all warm inside to think some girl voluntarily decided to accept certain death for Jesus.

There’s just one problem with this story: It never happened!

That’s right, folks, this tale of a Christian martyrdom — despite being oft-repeated within Christian circles — is a big fat fucking lie. It was actually debunked long ago, as CNN reported back in 2009, but Christians like Rickie-boy don’t appear to have gotten the memo (cached):

For example, many in the media initially reported that 17-year-old Cassie Bernall, a Christian, answered “yes” when asked if she believed in God before she was shot to death. She became a poster child for the Evangelical movement after her death. But investigators and student witnesses later told Cullen that it was another student, Valeen Schnurr, who avowed her belief in God as she was shot. Schnurr survived.

Look, I understand why Christians like to tell martyrdom stories. Theirs is a religion founded by a martyr (i.e. Jesus). Since the earliest days of the faith, they’ve viewed martyrdom as an ideal that all Christians should aspire to. A desire to be persecuted for Jesus is, therefore, embedded deep within the psychopathology of their religion. It’s an impulse they find irresistible.

Still, that can’t excuse their tendency to lie in order to support their martyrdom narrative. They shouldn’t fabricate examples of “persecution for Jesus” solely in order to tell each other they’re being persecuted for Jesus. Because in the 21st century US, no such thing is happening! In this case, Kim Davis isn’t really the Christian martyr she and her champions, like Santorum, want us to think she is. Really, she’s nothing more than a raging, sanctimonious, Puritanical bigot. That’s all.

Photo credit: PsiCop graphic, based on Monty Python & the Holy Grail.

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Comments Comments Off on Santorum Propagates Christian-Martyrdom Lie

Rowan County, kentucky courthouseI’ve blogged several times about militant Christianist Rowan county clerk Kim Davis, who — after the Obergefell v. Hodges decision was handed down by the US Supreme Court — refuses to issue any marriage licenses at all, because she feared catching gay cooties by granting licenses to gay couples. She managed to turn her juvenile petulance into a Religious Right crusade, mainly by getting the Christofascist legal outfit Liberty Counsel to represent her. Having refused to obey a federal judge’s order to resume issuing licenses, she was jailed for contempt of court, but then released when said judge caved in to the Religious Right protests that erupted.

Today was Ms Davis’s first day back at work. As NPR reports, she’s as petulant and whiny as ever, although she hasn’t prevented her staff from handing out licenses (WebCite cached article):

Kim Davis, the county clerk in Kentucky who was jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, is back to work today — saying she will neither authorize such licenses nor stand in the way of her deputies if they wish to do so.

And, the first couple to apply for a license at the county clerk’s office Monday — Shannon Wampler and Carmen Collins — walked out the door with one.…

Her decision was clear, she said: “Effective immediately, and until an accommodation is provided, by those with the authority to provide it, any marriage license issued by my office will not be issued or authorized by me.”…

Davis said she had “great doubts” that such licenses could be considered valid.

I noted quite some time ago that Ms Davis and her lawyers have insisted any marriage licenses issued by anyone working for Rowan county won’t be valid, because she hasn’t authorized them. I expect something to come from this … but I have no idea what that could be (because I’m not sure what legal means exist which allows Ms Davis or her lawyers to contest the licenses that have been handed out). All I can say is, I don’t believe for one moment that they plan to just let the matter drop. Those couples had better have good attorneys of their own, because Liberty Counsel will come after them, if they can contrive any way to do so.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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Comments Comments Off on Rowan Cty KY’s Gay Marriage Saga Continues

White FlagOne of the Religious Right’s main tactics is a very simple and direct one: Intimidation. They relentlessly bully their opposition at every turn. They never let up, not for any reason, until they get their way. Unfortunately, this is a tactic that works, all too often, because those opposing them typically lose their nerve at some point and drop the fight. This is precisely what just happened in the case of Rowan county KY clerk Kim Davis; as the New York Times reports, she was released from jail today (WebCite cached article):

Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who was jailed last week after she defied a court’s order that she issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, was ordered released on Tuesday.…

[Federal district] Judge [David L.] Bunning ordered that Ms. Davis “shall not interfere in any way, directly or indirectly, with the efforts of her deputy clerks to issue marriage licenses to all legally eligible couples.” He said any such action would be regarded as “a violation” of his release order.

That this would happen was virtually a given, once the R.R. — captained by the likes of Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz, Mat Staver, “Flip” Benham, and an assortment of other militant Christianist characters — had made the whole affair into a fucking circus (cached and cached). It was inevitable that Judge Bunning would bend over for this Christofascist mob. Yes, he ordered her not to interfere with the distribution of marriage licenses, but she doesn’t intend to obey him; her lawyer has said she plans to stop the granting of licenses (cached). And that, you may remember, has been her goal all along. Once she does so, she’ll have scored a victory. And on top of it all, she’ll have made herself a martyr, and will be able to milk that as a career, no matter how her tenure as a county clerk turns out.

At some point, people need to figure out how to “gird up their loins” (to use a Biblical phrase) and stand up to the R.R. consistently, without caving in all the time. Unfortunately, cowardice is far too deeply ingrained in human nature to allow that to happen. More’s the pity.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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Comments Comments Off on Religious Right’s Intimidation Tactics Worked, Once Again

Baby boy crying sad mad / Alice Keeler, via FlickrChristofascists are nothing if not consistent, as well as fiercely tenacious. When they get into a conflict over something, they don’t let go — ever. They just dig their heels in harder and jam their spikes into new turf, even as they’re being dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century. Nothing that happens fazes them; they never relent for any reason.

A case in point is Mat Staver, who runs the Christianist legal outfit known as Liberty Counsel and attorney for Kim Davis, the Rowan county KY clerk who’s now in jail because she defied court orders to issue marriage licenses. This morning, without her present to prevent it, her assistants issued a license to a gay couple. I wondered then if Staver would say or do something about this. He’d previously said no one in her office had permission to issue them. Well, as the Washington Post reports — and true to the consistency inherent in his Christofascism — he ended up wading into the subject (WebCite cached article):

An attorney for jailed Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis said that the marriage licenses issued Friday to a series of same-sex couples here are not valid.

“They are not worth the paper they’re written on,” Mat Staver said outside the Carter County Detention Center, where Davis is being held on a contempt charge.

“Our position and the position of the clerk of Rowan County is that those licenses are void,” Staver said at an afternoon news conference in Grayson, about 35 miles from the Rowan County Courthouse.

Staver said the licenses issued Friday aren’t valid because they were issued under the county clerk’s authority — but Davis hasn’t granted that authority.

This is exactly what I predicted would happen. It shows Staver and his client aren’t done fighting this battle. They’re furious that gay marriage is legal nationally and plan to pitch fits as long as that’s the case.

Oh, and just so we’re clear on it: As I’ve said many times, Staver’s group’s name is a misnomer. They don’t really want “liberty” for anyone except militant Christianists like themselves. Their goal is to force the entire country to have to live according to the terms of their own dour metaphysics.

Photo credit: Alice Keeler, via Flickr.

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Comments Comments Off on Rowan Cty Marriage Wars Aren’t Over Yet

Rainbow Flag / Karl Schultz, via FlickrUpdate: As it turns out, sanity might not be returning to Rowan county, yet. See the next blog post for more.

This is a brief follow-up to a few recent blog posts. The Louisville Courier-Journal reports a gay couple finally got a marriage license from the Rowan county clerk’s office in Kentucky (WebCite cached article):

William Smith and James Yates obtained a marriage license in Rowan County from Deputy Clerk Brian Mason around 8:15 a.m. Friday.

Some of the many folks standing by outside the office, supporting the couple, were actually Christians:

Marsha Moors-Charles, pastor of Bluegrass United Church of Christ, stood with gay-rights supporters and said she was willing to perform marriages if any couples asked. Across the walkway, other ministers shouted damnation.

While new civil rights are often slow to be accepted by some, she said, the “onslaught of bigotry and prejudice” that has followed the Supreme Court ruling has been “heartbreaking.”

This demonstrates the Religious Right is lying when it says gay marriage is an attack on “Christianity” and part of an atheistic effort to eradicate Christianity from the country. It’s not. It’s something some Christians — and perhaps even most Christians — oppose. But it’s not something all Christians oppose. SO the idea that gay marriage will wipe out Christianity is just plain fucking bullshit. A steaming load heaped straight out of the back of the barn.

Based on one of Mat Staver’s statements during the trial — that Ms Davis hadn’t granted any of her deputies permission to issue marriage licenses — I’d wondered yesterday if he might try to interfere, but it seems he didn’t. At least, he hasn’t yet. Time will tell, I suppose, if he somehow raises a legal objection.

Photo credit: Karl Schultz, via Flickr.

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Comments Comments Off on Sanity May Soon Return To Rowan Cty KY

Perpetua, Felicitas, Revocatus, Saturninus and Secundulus (Menologion of Basil II)I’ve already blogged about Kim Davis, a Kentucky county clerk who refuses to issue marriage licenses because she’s afraid it would somehow entangle her in people’s gay marriages, which she (erroneously) says her Jesus forbid. A legal case followed from her refusal to obey court orders given her. Today, as Reuters reports, she was held in contempt and jailed for her childish defiance (WebCite cached article):

A county clerk in Kentucky who refuses to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples on religious grounds was held in contempt of court by a U.S. federal judge on Thursday and sent to jail.

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, 49, was led away by U.S. marshals who confirmed she was under arrest.

Davis’s assistants are now the judge’s targets:

Davis’ deputies still face their own reckoning as [District Court Judge David] Bunning assigned each of them attorneys and said their fate would be determined at a hearing later on Thursday. He warned they could face fines or jail.

We’ll see whether or not they comply with Bunning’s orders to give marriage licenses. I suspect Davis’s attorney, the dour and angry Christofascist Mat Staver, will try to prevent them from doing so, if any are willing, on the grounds that Davis herself never gave them any authority to do so.

And with that, Dear Reader, the Religious Right has a new martyr! Ms Davis will sit in prison, looking as wan and pathetic as she can, while her attorney and other champions run around telling everyone she’s being “persecuted for Jesus.” It’s not clear what will happen if this drags on. It’s possible she might be removed from her job, but the only mechanism for that — which I’m aware of — is for the Kentucky legislature to impeach her … but since that’s dominated by other Religious Rightists, odds are that won’t happen.

Of course, that’s the real solution here: For Davis to resign from a job whose duties she no longer wants to perform. But she won’t do that, because … let’s face it, folks! … this whole case is all about her! She set herself up to become a martyr for her Jesus and she plans to cash in on that. Imagine what will happen once this case is over — however it gets resolved. Ms Davis will at the very least go on the evangelical Christian lecture circuit and publish a memoir of her supposed persecution. She’ll make a fortune just on those two moves. She could also establish a ministry, likely an anti-gay one, and that also will gin up a pretty solid income. She might also land a gig as a radio or television host, which will be all the more lucrative. A run for public office is also very possible, if not likely. Her friend Mat Staver and his organization will also profit from this, in the form of massive donations which I’m sure he’s been reeling in for the last few weeks over this.

In short … as of today, this woman is set for life. And her friend Mat Staver and his outfit are, too. Her time in jail — and his legal work on her behalf — will end up being small investments with a colossal return.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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Comments Comments Off on The Religious Right’s Newest Martyr

A Youtube video shows a mass baptism at Villa Rica High School from August 17th. (Photo: YouTube, via WXIA-TV)Note: There’s been an update on this story; please see below.

America’s Christianists have a lot of trouble with separation of church and state. To be blunt, they don’t fucking want it. They despise court decisions like Engel v. Vitale (1962) and Abington S.D. v. Schempp (1963) which took religious instruction out of public schools … because, quite obviously, kids can’t get that kind of instruction at home, in church, or in Sunday school.

Oh wait, they can. Woops. I forgot. Christianists need to make sure their religion saturates everyone’s daily existence, because without it … well, I guess everything goes “poof.” Or something.

Anyway … Christianists aren’t about to let little things like the Supreme Court get in the way of doing their deity’s bidding. They consistently and repeatedly violate the law and act as though there’s nothing wrong with it. Because Jesus.

An egregious example of this, as WXIA-TV in Atlanta reports, happened a couple weeks ago in western Georgia (WebCite cached article):

A Georgia school district is investigating after video of a mass baptism was posted on YouTube.

The video, posted by First Baptist Villa Rica, was shot on school grounds just before football practice. “We had the privilege of baptizing a bunch of football players and a coach on the field of Villa Rica High School! We did this right before practice! Take a look and see how God is STILL in our schools!” the caption with the video reads.

By Tuesday evening, the video had been removed from YouTube.

Someone, apparently, thought better of having stuck evidence of this SOCAS violation on the Internet … but it wasn’t enough. The cat’s out of the bag.

Note the church’s language (i.e. “God is STILL in our schools!”). Thus, this baptism was an act of Christianist defiance. The church may have deleted it from Youtube, but others associated with Villa Rica High School football haven’t shied from their fierce public-school religionism; this post from the Villa Rica Touchdown Club’s Facebook page makes that evident (locally-cached version).

The Freedom From Religion Foundation has asked the school district to investigate and remedy the situation. It’s possible the school district will do the right thing, firing any staff who may have arranged this baptism, and prevent them from happening again. But then, this is the Bible Belt Bobble Bay-elt, and for all we know, the school district doesn’t see anything wrong with it. Who knows?

Update: It turns out the school district does see something wrong with this. They concede this baptism violated procedures (cached). As for whether anyone will be fired because they knew damned well something happened that shouldn’t have … well, I don’t plan to hold my breath waiting for that.

Photo credit: YouTube, via WXIA-TV.

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